a man in a hat and scarf holding a flag
Images and video from outside and within the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 helped identify Bryan Bishop as one of several individuals who assaulted Metropolitan Police Department officers before entering the Capitol. SEDITION HUNTERS/Contributed

A Marathon couple will both await sentencing after pleading guilty for their roles in the U.S. Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021.

According to court documents filed April 30, 51-year-old Bryan Bishop, a Marathon resident living in Boot Key Harbor at the time of his August 2023 arrest, pleaded guilty in federal court to a felony charge of “assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers.” 

The offense carries a maximum sentence of up to eight years in prison, a $200,000 fine and a supervised release term of up to three years, along with restitution to be paid for damages to the Capitol building and for bodily harm to Metropolitan Police Department members injured by Bishop’s actions. 

Court documents also stipulate that Bishop will allow law enforcement to review his social media accounts for statements and postings around the time of the capitol riots prior to his sentencing, expected on Thursday, Aug. 29. Prosecutors currently estimate an appropriate prison sentence of 51 to 63 months, based on the facts of Bishop’s case.

Bishop had pleaded not guilty in November 2023 to nine counts included in his original federal indictment.

Bishop’s wife Tonya, 47, pleaded guilty in March, though to lesser misdemeanor charges of “disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol building or grounds” and “parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building,” each carrying a maximum six-month prison sentence, up to five years of probation and up to a $5,000 fine. Her sentencing is scheduled for Thursday, July 11.

Both Bishops were taken into custody in a joint operation of the FBI, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement partners after FBI investigators cross-referenced photos of Bryan Bishop from previous Florida, Minnesota and Idaho driver’s licenses and passport renewal application with videos, CCTV and police body camera footage recorded during the insurrection. The imagery identified him as one of several individuals who assaulted police officers on the Capitol’s West Terrace before entering the building for roughly 17 minutes.

Bryan had additionally become known as the #UnderHelmetSprayer after Sedition Hunters, a community group dedicated to aiding riot investigators, released video of an individual spraying two officers in the face with a chemical irritant.

Although Tonya’s complaint and charges make no mention of assaults on officers, video footage and location data provided by Google and TracFone placed a device associated with her email address and TracFone account inside the Capitol at the time of the riot.

Before the riots, recorded calls made by the phone number associated with her TracFone account included a female voice stating, “On the 6th, Trump has called the patriots together, a bunch of us are headed over there.”

Upon their initial release from the Monroe County Detention Center in Key West on Aug. 8, Tonya Bishop told the Weekly she “hope(s) you’re using the word ‘allegedly,’ because we’re innocent until proven guilty,” adding that “due process has not been served. We’re just regular people who want to live our lives quietly.”

Bryan Bishop called his arrest “dramatic.”

Alex Rickert
Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.